I recently produced and directed a video for the launch of the NCA 2013 with last year’s amazing winner Lucy Beaumont.
Keep your eyes peeled for cameos from the BBC Comedy team…
I recently produced and directed a video for the launch of the NCA 2013 with last year’s amazing winner Lucy Beaumont.
Keep your eyes peeled for cameos from the BBC Comedy team…
I was very lucky to have the chance to visit the QI offices (they’re just as cool as you’d imagine – they have a collection knitted QI bobble hats and a wall of fake moustaches) earlier this year to meet with producer, presenter and broadcasting legend, John Lloyd.
John is one of those people who you meet because of one thing – be it because of his role as the founder of QI (so much more than a TV show), producing the radio series of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy with his late best friend Douglas Adams or presenting The Museum of Curiosity for Radio 4 – and then go away discovering he’s responsible for more than you could ever have imagined. Occasionally you’ll see him as a talking head on a BBC Two programme talking about some epic advert he made in the eighties, or a classic telly show such as Not the 9 O’Clock News.
John himself isn’t a name dropper, or someone who’d ever assume people would know who he was or what he’s done. He’s just a really brilliant person, basically, so I was dead chuffed that he agreed to chat to me about the early days of his time in BBC Radio. I don’t want to say too much because it’d be great if you watch the film above and see for yourself, but the story involves Nicholas Parsons, former Film [insert date here] presenter Barry Norman and a 13 hour turnaround – from reading the morning papers to broadcast.
Tonight I’m returning to Birmingham for the next heat of the BBC New Comedy Award 2012.
We’ll be at the Glee Club from 7.30pm with ten more comics looking to earn themselves a place in one of our semi-finals.
So far the standard has been ridiculously high and I’ve had great fun meeting everyone and filming the shows. Here’s the films I’ve produced so far:
I’ve got to run and catch a train very shortly, but I hope to see some of you there. We’re also heading to Cardiff, London and Brighton on our first round tour – tickets for these shows as well as tonight’s Brummie barrel o’laughs can be found here.
Some of you may know that I’ve been rehearsing for the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony since April
I’m now in the final stretch, with just two dress rehearsals before the performance itself on Friday. I’m not actually allowed to tell you what I’m doing or even hint at it sadly, but I’ll do some posts after the event to explain a bit more about what we’ve been up to – do comment if you want to know anything in particular (or give me a Tweet).
As well as the Olympics, it’s all go at work. We’re about to go on tour for the BBC Radio 2 New Comedy Award and I’ll be covering some amazing shows in Edinburgh for BBC Radio 4 online, including Just a Minute and Dilemma.
On Friday at 6.30pm, the first episode of the new Chain Reaction series goes out (so you can listen just before the Opening Ceremony). The first pairing is Jeremy Front and his sister Rebecca. The rest of the chain is made up of Chris Addison, Derren Brown, Tim Minchin, Caitlin Moran and Jennifer Saunders (how brilliant is that?). I’ll be speaking to the guest interviewer each week – see how I got on with Jeremy here.
Lastly radio-wise, I’ve also been preparing for The Now Show 2012 – Live! with Hugh Dennis and Steve Punt. We made a silly video to promote the show before recording a show from the current series. The show’s broadcasting live on Monday 30th July, continuing every other week night across the Olympics (that’s six episodes, kids).
In other news, I’m part-buying a flat in Bromley-by-Bow as part of the Shared Ownership scheme. I’ve never spent vast amounts of sums on anything, so the deposit leaving my savings is going to make me wince like a man hit in an intimate place. I’ve been Pinteresting my prospective furniture. Predictably the majority of it is from IKEA! I plan to bulk buy basics and then shop for more interesting pieces once I’ve replenished my funds.
If you’ve got any budget furnishing links, do share them.
Please note that the following is strictly of my own opinion, and not that of my employer, the Amazing Media Group (AMG).
I produce and present for Amazing Radio, a DAB digital radio station that only plays new and emerging music. Should this make us rivals? No, of course not. We want the same things… possibly.
I’ve become doubtful recently as BBC Introducing focuses on flashy ‘Masterclass’ and ‘In New Music We Trust’ events. These are valuable for artists supported by the Introducing brand, but it seems that sometimes this focus to publicly celebrate ‘the next big thing’ can forget the smaller artists recently being discovered by local BBC Introducing programmes.
Local BBC Introducing shows have to be commissioned by the Managing Editor of the regional centre and I understand this. There are different budgets, schedules to fit the shows into – which explains why some shows are just an hour, some three and others expand outside of the show with regional tours. What I don’t understand is why the BBC cannot invest a mere smidgeon of time in publishing the playlists from each show. It’s incredible that you cannot find programme information for the regional shows.
This might seem like a petty quibble, but I promise you it’s not. What do new, emerging and unsigned artists need most of all? Gigs! You can’t build a fan base (and test their dedication) without building up a loyal following that will support you and your music if you begin releasing. A label will be unlikely to sign a band without a considerable following. Public faith should not be underestimated. Promoters will be looking to BBC Introducing to provide new acts for local gigs – or at least they could be, if the BBC decided to do the simple thing of archiving a list of played acts (with links) from each show.
The BBC Birmingham Introducing website is a good example of what regional BBC Introducing sites should be starting with. The site used to house a comprehensive A-Z of local acts, but I can no longer locate it. There are, however, local artist news articles which is welcome relief from my fears that BBC Online is completely failing to provide us with the information that we pay our licence fees for.
At Amazing Radio our music programming policy is that we only play artists who have uploaded their tracks to amazingtunes.com. This means that our listeners can easily find what they hear on the radio, either by searching for the artists that they’ve heard us talk about on the radio, or by clicking on the hyper linked playlists that we provide on our show pages. We’re also on hand to answer any questions that site users or listeners may have. I occasionally receive emails that ask me about a song or artist, and I’m always happy to answer them,
(complete with a link to the artist’s profile page). Artists can write what they like on their profile pages too, so if they want to direct users to a Band Camp or Facebook fan page, we don’t mind at all!
So BBC, what would I like you do do? Well I’d like to see more effort put into the regional BBC Introducing sites – some shows don’t even have them – and I’d like to see published playlists for each show. Surely it can’t be that hard can it?
All the best,
This cycle was called ‘ANTM Elevated’ due to the incorporation of more top fashion houses (such as Versace and Roberto Cavalli) and a prize that included a spread in Italian Vogue.
Rather than ‘make like a model’ I thought I’d have a gleeful dig through my wardrobe and mix old and new bits and pieces together. I’ve been to the shops a few times since Christmas but haven’t found too much sales wise – I’ve still got Zara and Top Shop vouchers to splurge – but I’m biding my credit ’til I see something I “simply have to have, darlings!”
One joyous miracle happened recently on my 22nd birthday when I found a black version of my favourite camel trousers reduced in Zara to £14.99 from £19.99. Anyone who knows this blog at all will be aware that I’ve been trying to find ‘cigarette pants’ for an absolute age so to find them for such a bargain was rather pleasing! (Particularly as I used a Christmas voucher to buy them so it cost nada – thanks Tony!)
I borrowed this jumper from my Dad when I was cold at Christmas and his wife Deb gave it to me ‘because it suited me more’! I’ve wanted an oversized jumper for a while (thanks Deb!) but it doesn’t belt well so I have to wear with leggings to avoid looking too shapeless – I think it works though. The American Apparel style leggings were a free find at a Friends of the Earth Freecycle event I went to before I left Birmingham. Although I was primarily there to offload old clothes I couldn’t carry, I couldn’t resist these! The heels are also a thrift from my shoe hoarding mother. All in all a budget-free look.
I held out all holiday season for these boots by Anglomania (one of Vivienne Westwood’s diffusion lines). They arrived as a last present miracle from my fabulous sister Charlotte. Weirdly enough they smell pleasantly fruity so I lay around with my nose in the boots for an alarming amount of time! I shortened and hemmed the skirt so it was of more wearable length but accidentally burned a hole in it… oops! And I’ve not yet worn the shirt out of my room, so I should probably start getting more use out of it!
I got this shift dress for about £3 in 2008 when I was doing work experience as a BBC Blast reporter. I had no money but a desire to spend it, so the PDSA charity shop was a good place for me to browse! The heels were my extravagant purchase from my short spell acting at Birmingham’s MAC theatre during a break from University. They are rather high so I don’t wear them out much, although I wore them for graduation. There were concerns that I’d fall over in front of everyone, but actually it was my oversized mortarboard hat that caused the issue.
Now… to the Top Shop sale! (Suggestions of what to buy, anyone?)
I admit that I feel like a bit of a thief, what with stealing the following from the Amazing Radio blog! But it’s pretty cool news, and hopefully will get more people listening to DAB digital radio. All digital radios come with FM recievers (some AM too if you’re that way inclined) and there are some great quality stations available such as BBC Radio 6 Music and of course, my new employers Amazing Radio.
So Spread the word… and get listening!
Radio Amnesty – Because you’re worth it
Friday, May 21st, 2010 | Kevin Read | Blog
You’ll hear some ads on Amazing Radio from tomorrow. We’ve not carried ads since our Amazing Christmas campaign but this is another great initiative designed to get you a cheaper DAB radio whilst opening up a world of opportunities to children in South Africa.
The lovely people at getdigitalradio.com are offering an amnesty on your poor old radio. The plan is simple, you trade in your old radio and get a discount on a snazzy new DAB radio from one of a host of retailers. For more information on the amnesty and how it works, head on over to http://www.getdigitalradio.com/digital-radios/radio-amnesty where you’ll also find details of how the scheme will help the Children’s Radio Foundation and UNICEF in Southern Africa.
A year or so ago I wrote a blog post questioning the content of the trail for the ‘next generation’ of Skins, aka series three. It wasn’t particularly approving, perhaps because I was a tad sensitive about a fireworks-in-a-night-club disaster and the fireworks-in-a-pub-lark of the ad (that debuted a few days later) felt a tad insensitive.
It’s testament to the popularity of the show that according to WordPress, that post was one of my most read.
I haven’t blogged properly for a while. I’ve been busy. And somewhat unmotivated – should I be writing this when I have so many other things to be writing. Personally I think that of course the answer is yes; that if something affects me deeply enough then I should rush to my macbook, flip it open and type away. But then other people might be writing and I’ll be saying nothing new – it’s exactly the same with your typical undergraduate essay. At the end of the day, you do it anyway.
So quickly I’ll address the BBC 6Music debate. What this should tell the BBC is that the station needs development and a bit of TLC – and then more people will tune in. They should consider this publicity as good and gain a bigger picture of what people want and expect. Commercial radio is nothing like BBC radio -and thank goodness for that. Although sometimes I feel that the Radio 1 playlist is too similar to sister station 1Xtra and requires a tad more diversity (which is beginning to seep in again with the likes of Mumford & Sons etc,) oh and requires DJs rather than personalities/TV presenters, for me there should be no question of whether 6Music should stay or go. Of course it should stay, and of course all the people who claim to support it should go out and buy a digital radio (or stick a bookmark to the online player in their browser.)
I shall talk about the plans to axe BBC Blast in a post sometime soon – or will post something on 4Talent’s blog. I have been part of Blast. To be blunt, it would be a disaster for thousands of people like me. Opportunities are hard to come by, Blast vastly multiplies them.
Anyway. Back onto my former topic. At the beginning of tonight’s Effy centred Skins episode, the penultimate of series 4 and the current ‘generation,’ I said to my housemate “I’m not sure if they’ll recommission this.” Not because I think that they shouldn’t, but simply because with each new generation of cast and characters, the concept will become more and more watered down. The original viewers will grow older and perhaps further away as they become less satisfied with characters they no longer consider ‘classics.’ Added to this central characters Naomi and Pandora (sob) have not had their own episodes this year (budget cuts at C4) and fans may be unhappy with this.
Tonights episode was a slow burner. How does one deal with mental illness but retain the usual Skins ‘sheen’? (which is more of a layer of fabulous grime and a hint of smoke.) How do you try and settle the love triangle of Cook-Effy-Freddie once and for all without repeating former narratives? How do you literally make the audience sit up from the calm pace of an occasionally stilted episode and beg for the finale?
In the case of Skins co-creator Jamie Brittain, you take a tip from Dad and you force them to. I still feel slightly dazed, sickened even by the final moments of this evening’s episode. I used ‘sickened’ in place of shock – really I should say shock, but I’m the easily scared type. If you’ve not seen the episode then don’t read on. If you’re not planning on watching and I can’t convince you to then read on and then watch it (4od.)
At the end of the episode we were presented with a typical ‘Freddie-confronts-a-character’ scene. Only, when Freddie tried to leave confronted character’s house (Effy’s creepy counsellor who was somewhat reminiscent of Tony’s admissions tutor in his episode of series 2) The homeowner walked up the stairs towards the tiny landing Freddie could not escape from (locked door) with a pristine, white baseball bat. Cut to white door, frosted glass doorframe. Yells, thuds, bloodsplatter. Silence.
I sat on the sofa watching this and couldn’t move, just for a moment. Although there have been deaths in Skins (the wonderful Chris in series 2, Sid’s father; both beautifully written moments, and of course Sophia in the series opener which I was involved in the filming of,) This however, was something entirely new. There has been an element of choice in the previous deaths with suicide, avoiding medication and hedonistic lifestyles playing a major factor. Murder is something entirely different, a completely original element thrown into the mix and something that could possibly save the series from being known as the least engaging of the four. What was particularly interesting about the last moments of the episode was the trail for the final episode. It seems that Freddie’s 20 year old sister Karen, will be the focus. Karen featured far more heavily in the previous series and I do feel that the final episode will benefit from her return – it also means that the final episode of series 3, which was another love triangle centred episode is unlikely to be repeated in a different format.
I for one will certainly be glued to the TV come next Thursday!
’I predict the internet will *explode* when you see a certain something through a security camera feed.’
I bet Moran himself was thrilled to find out that John Barrowman had agreed to a brief full frontal nude shot…until finding out that the writer for episode two had called it. I guess that left him just one option…subliminally tell his readers that compared to Wednesday’s episode, Tuesdays was a ‘load of old spuds’ writing;
‘potatoes play a very significant role at a crucial moment.’
…Anyone would think Torchwood was set in Ireland?!
Just kidding, James Moran is an experienced writer and sings the praises of his co workers, including Russell T. Davies (RTD.) Over on 4OD I have been having an RTD fest, devouring (if thats an appropriate term) Queer as Folk and Queer as Folk 2, which despite appearing a real product of the nineties, show RTD’s real flair for subtly outlining characters to the point where they feel like next door neighbours. I’ve reserved a book at my local library called ‘Doctor Who; The Writer’s Tale‘ by RTD which features emails from the writer to Doctor Who’s Executive Producer. Internet reviews have all been generous in their praise so I’m looking forward to getting stuck in and hopefully learning a little on the way…
Are you enjoying Torchwood? Let me know (comments, @Getfrank, snail mail….)
The current subject of major international focus is the Swine Flu. Of course, you don’t need me to tell you that – it’s probably the most talked about thing on the internet right now, seemingly stealing the focus from the ever depressing recession. Being a student I’ve felt slightly cushioned from the talk of unemployment and bankers’ distress, preferring to concentrate on my deadlines and my final year of study before I’m thrown into a world of economic turmoil.
When I last checked today, just before starting write this article, it seems that there have been 91 cases of Swine Flu confirmed by laboratory testing in America (51 of those in New York) and sadly one death (a child in Texas.) There have been five UK cases affirmed, with one woman being treated from her home in Redditch. On the TV as I am currently writing a news anchor reports from outside a health centre in Northfield reporting that ‘we must hope that the threat in the West Midlands remains mild’ and that a victim’s uncle could not obtain tamiflu from 6 different pharmacies. If this was a confirmed case of tamiflu then I am sure that the patient would have been given tamiflu directly by the hospital so I’m not entirely sure what that victim was suffering from… (I’d been briefly watching Newsnight on the other side…)
The following was published from this article on the BBC news website:
No school expected to be at the centre of a national media storm, but for the pupils of Paignton Community and Sports College in south Devon, there were to be even more shocks and surprises.
A little after 1300 BST this afternoon, the 2,000 pupils were told that one of their friends had contracted swine flu from a recent trip to Mexico. They did not know it, but already satellite vans and cameramen were gathering outside the school gate and the prime minister had announced on the floor of the Commons that a 12-year-old girl at the school was ill with the virus.
Although she is now responding well to drugs, there is a great deal of anger amongst parents and pupils alike that they were not told in advance.
In amongst the tears, parents came to collect their children as the school was closed. Reeling not just from the shock that swine flu had arrived on their doorstep, but in the manner that they had heard the worrying news.
It is the content of stories like the one above that make me worry about the way that the potential pandemic is being handled. The fact that 2,000 students and their parents reacted with hysteria surely reflects what a nation constantly accompanied by the media must be enduring. I myself have become uneasy this evening particularly after seeing footage of Dr Margaret Chan of the World Health Organisation officially raising the alert over the level of swine flu to 5 – one away from the level of ‘pandemic (human – human transmission in two countries.) This means that countries must ready their ‘pandemic preparedness plans.’ In Britain this appears to be stockpiling as many doses of tamiflu as possible (and hoping that the virus does not mutate to become untreatable.)
All of this is news that we, as members of the public are perfectly entitled to of course and most coverage by the media has been greatly informative, particularly by sites such as the BBC. However, for the next few weeks I would not even consider buying a tabloid newspaper for fear of seeing sensationalized pictures or ‘survivors stories.’ For example this story on The Sun’s website starts to read as a fairly factual piece until a silly picture of random people arriving at Heathrow airport is followed by text in bold to make you feel INDIGNANT AND BETRAYED BY THE GOVERNMENT the piece ends by saying that ’25 million could catch it here in months.’ Surely this is scaremongering? The content about the lack of masks is completely unnecessary, particularly as we have already been informed that masks are only useful to members of the medical profession as touching the masks after using them renders them pointless.
So what I have deducted from the oodles of internet, tv and print info is that people should carry tissues, get out the old festival anti bacterial gel and to not sneeze on people. To be honest I’m going to be doing this namely because I have a bit of a cold at the moment and my hayfever is rather chronic and is beginning to flare up.
Personally I am going to try not to worry; I have an exam tomorrow and an interview for an internship with Channel 4 as part of their Generation Next scheme next week. My exam is a practical performance of an Alan Aykbourne play called Invisible Friends. In it I play an angry middle aged dad and the voices of a tv, including a speech about rising inflation which suddenly feels all the more relevant!
The Channel 4 interview is for a new media post, as an assistant to the producer of the Big Brother website. When the program is on each Summer I’d say I probably visit the website more than I watch the program itself so therefore I’m quite excited about it! Aside from being keen generally my experience online and also through running Burnfm.com I’d say I’ve got as much a chance as any. As long as they don’t think I’m too young or don’t like that I’ve not finished my degree hopefully I’ll do well. The internship is from July to mid september and therefore I’ll be free to devote all my time to the job. (Put it this way; I really, really want to do it!) A task created video of Ulrika Johnson and Verne Troyer performing the Diana Ross and Lionel Richie duet, Endless Love from this year’s Celebrity Big Brother got over 81,000 views in a matter of days (the task was to get at least 10,000) which shows exactly how cross platform content is becoming increasingly popular amongst mainstream audiences.
Hope you are all equally well and that this article hasn’t caused a panic!